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Searching for Bobby Fischer


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Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Max Pomeranc, Joan Allen, Laurence Fishburne
  • Directors: Steven Zaillian
  • Writers: Steven Zaillian, Fred Waitzkin
  • Producers: David Wisnievitz, Scott Rudin, Sydney Pollack, William Horberg
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2000
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (362 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305910340
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,475 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Searching for Bobby Fischer" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Josh Waitzkin is just a typical American boy interested in baseball when one day he challenges his father at chess and wins. Showing unusual precocity at the outdoor matches at Washington Square in New York City, he quickly makes friends with a hustler named Vinnie who teaches him speed chess. Josh's parents hire a renowned chess coach, Bruce, who teaches Josh the usefulness of measured planning. Along the way Josh becomes tired of Bruce's system and chess in general and purposely throws a match, leaving the prospects of winning a national championship in serious jeopardy.

Customer Reviews

Great movie to watch with your kids!!!!
E & C
He befriends a child prodigy in the chess world and teaches him lessons in chess and in life.
M. Fields
I love this movie - it a beautiful story and the acting is very good.
Judy Fields

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 97 people found the following review helpful By D. Knouse on August 17, 2004
Format: DVD
One of the deciding factors I use to determine whether or not I will purchase a DVD is, "How many times will I want to see this film?" Well, as far as this DVD is concerned I'm nearing the double-digits in viewings. This is essentially a Family Film with a great cast of actors such as Laurence Fishburn, Joan Allen, Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, David Paymer, William H. Macy, and a small role by the then virtually unknown Laura Linney. After that, there are some fine scenes filled with some excellent child acting. I happen to think any film with good child acting is worth seeing, they are so rare. The story is well-written and ranges in emotion from humor to borderline outrage and deep-seeded disappointment. This film actually reminds me of "The Color of Money" directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Tom Cruise and Paul Newman. I got a similar buzz from both films. After I watch "The Color of Money" I feel an unbridled desire to play pool. After I watch "Searching for Bobby Fischer" I need to break out my chess board or play on my chess program. There is even a shot taken directly from "The Color of Money" that is used here. In "The Color of Money" there is a great camera shot of a huge room that starts with a shot of the ceiling and gradually pans downward to reveal an empty hall with about twenty pool tables set up for play. In "Searching for Bobby Fischer" there is a sweeping camera shot that begins with a dark shot of a hallway ceiling then floats through an archway into a huge, empty hall filled with dozens of chess boards ready for play. This film did get a single Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography, and with shots like those it is easy to see why. This is a very solid purchase for anyone, chess fans or no.Read more ›
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By John S. Harris VINE VOICE on June 26, 2000
Format: DVD
This is not a movie only about chess any more than "Field of Dreams" was only about baseball. This is about a father who wants his son to excel, and about a son who just wants his father's love and approval just to be a "normal" kid. "Chess" in this movie could have been a metaphor for any special "gift" or talent, but it is important to mention that this film is based on real-life persons and events.
This is a story about finding one's character and courage in the face of mounting pressure and high expectations. It's about a very young boy who wants to be sure his father loves him for who he is, not just for what he can do.
Written and directed by Steven Zaillian (who wrote, among other things, the screenplay for Spielberg's "Schindler's List"), SFBF is a heartwarming movie that has you rooting and cheering. And young Max Pomeranc is a real fine young actor! Multiple Oscar-nominee Joan Allen plays the boy's mother in this film, and here she continues to solidify her position as one of the most wonderful actresses working today. Will she EVER get the widespread recognition she deserves?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By K. Williams on March 28, 2006
Format: DVD
From the title you might imagine a swarm of detectives combing the city looking for champion Bobby Fischer missing from a chess tournament. However, this is the story of a very gifted young boy named Josh Waitzkin who possesses an intuitive grasp of chess (and other games). Though SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER features chess, it's not about this game so much as it is about nurturing a child to grow into his own person. The mysterious disappearance of Bobby Fischer, world chess champion, did leave a void. But does this give family and coaches the right to demand that another child fill that vacancy? Can Josh continue to enjoy chess along with all the other things "normal" children do? Or is he destined to become part of a regimented chess-champion making machine?

A poignant point in the movie is made when Josh's coach angrily tells him his behavior is inconsistent with prior champion Bobby Fischer. The prodigy replies, "Well, I'm not him." This is a movie an entire family can enjoy together. The PG rating is earned from drug dealers and gamblers depicted in the park where people play chess.

Movie quote: "To put a child in a position to care about winning and not to prepare him is wrong."
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rivkah Maccaby on December 10, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This film is loosely based on the real story of chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin, who has outranked other junior players by so many points, that he is the first American player since Bobby Fischer who genuinely deserves to be hailed as the "Next Fischer."
Unlike Fischer, however, Waitzkin is a regular kid (or was, he's in his early 20's now), who loves baseball, fishing, other games, like Clue and Monopoly. He also likes playing blitz chess in Washington Square Park with the men, some of them homeless, yet still gifted chess players, who charge tourists for games to make a living, and play one another to prove their prowess.
(The Washington Square Park players are real, by the way. Washington Square Park is in Manhattan a few blocks above Greenwich Village. It's a well kept park. Street performers often ply their trade there as well, and you can take your pick of street vended food.)
Bobby Fischer single-mindedly pursued chess. He was the son of a single mother, who quite literally spent every moment he could muster working on chess problems. When he could find no one to challenge him, he played himself, and as Max Pomeranc in the film, playing Josh, says "He always won." Armchair shrinks diagnose Fischer with Antisocial Personality Disorder, Sub-clinical Schizophrenia, Asperger's Syndrome, and a host of other neurological disorders; one of them may be right, but as far as I know, Fischer has never submitted to a D&E.
There is nothing wrong with Josh Waitzkin. He loves chess, but not to the exclusion of other pursuits. He loves chess enough to spend most of his time at it, just not all. He loves chess as long as it remains fun. He loves the rush of the daring and audacious blitz chess of the Park.
Read more ›
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Josh Waitzkin
Josh has talked about this movie sooo much, and has grown in many ways since the events depicted. He's an awesome dude. Just go on Google or YouTube to find his clips.
May 21, 2008 by Niven |  See all 2 posts
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